Rick Worthington Solar Energy Helps Farmers and Ranchers
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: July 28, 2017

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A solar co-op is helping farmers cut their energy costs.

The agricultural co-op program, run by West Virginia SUN, helps line up grants and tax credits it says can cut up-front costs of solar installation in half, and there are guaranteed loans that can cover the rest.

Autumn Long with West Virginia SUN says farms often have high power bills, and the cost of installing solar has fallen so much that it now make senses for many. She pointed to a chicken farmer who got a solar system to heat, cool and ventilate his huge poultry barns.

"So, he had a pretty significant electricity burden, and he'll see the initial investment that will certainly pay for itself many times over, over the life of the system."

--- Solar power had been thought of as an expensive luxury in past decades, but the costs have come down so much that it's now a competitive option, and Long says it's been an amazing trend to watch.

"Even from like one month to the next in the past couple of years, we've seen the costs of solar plummet drastically," she said.

--- The group also runs local co-operatives that homeowners can use to get a 20 percent discount on home solar arrays. A typical solar array is guaranteed for 25 years, although Long said she knows many owners who have had theirs for 30 years or more.

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